Q: First and foremost...THANK YOU. I know it must
have taken some time and energy to read and answer that message. Your advice was
VERY helpful. It gives me a sense of comfort knowing that you truly understand
it. I have too long been surrounded by people that can't understand why I'm
still in this...or why I visualize myself in it longer. I had one question
regarding your reply. You wrote:
"Your partner my be too ill to change at this time. One option you have is to
give this time in the hope that gradual positive changes will eventually lead
your partner to become more open to implement additional changes."
Right now he has asked me for us to take a time out...a break. It has been very
difficult me because I have no support from friends to communicate with him and
on top of that his attitude doesn't help. Should I give him space for now and
wait for him to contact me or should I call him once in a while even if he gets
his attitudes? Should I wait until the summer when we'll spend more time
together and he might calm down? During this time, if I communicate with him,
should I talk to him as usual with all the I Love You's or should I keep it on a
Last time we spoke he kept asking me if I was in the FBI and trying to stop his
"social movement". He said he didn't trust I was saying the truth but the only
reason he keeps me alive is because he loves me. He sort of joked it off though.
How seriously should I take this? How should I react next time it happens?
He keeps associating me with his "highs" and "lows" as he refers to them (high
being normal and low being manic, although he doesn't call it manic). Do you
think there's a possibility this could be true? Could I be having some sort of
real impact on his equilibrium or is he just making the association out of
coincidence because of his mental state?
About putting demands of what I want out of him on the table...I think that's
what I'm going to do. However, what do you think are relatively rational demands
on my behalf. How do you suggest I present them to get a better reaction
I don't pretend you know the answer to all of these questions. I know every case
is a world apart but right now you can help me more than any other person around
me so anything you say can help. Thank you again so much for understanding and
taking the time to help me...and him.
The key to stability in your relationship is that your partner make it his
top priority to focus on his bipolar disorder FIRST. This means having the
patience and persistence to stay on his treatment to stay on his treatment and
to get the correct medications and dosages until you see improvement and
stability over time.
While this may be very difficult for you to do, if your partner is asking
for a break or "time out", honor his request. Give him space for a period of
time and let him contact you.
I strongly recommend reading Julie a Fast's book "Loving Someone With
Bipolar Disorder; Understanding & Helping Your Partner, 2004. It will help you
put together a treatment plan for you and your partner even in the absence of
your partner's immediate participation.
Your partner's unbalanced equilibrium is due to a nueorchemical mbalance in
his brain which can be stabilized at least primarily via proper medications. He
either does not understand this or is in denial about its cause and you are a
convenient and gullible target. You have very little to do with his mood
swings. If your partner is able to place blame on you, this allows him to take
less responsibility for handling them himself.
Put the bipolar diagnosis aside for a moment and sit down to make a list
for yourself before confronting your partner about what your needs are. "What
am I doing with my life?" "Do I really have to do all of this, or is this
something that just happened and I'm going along with it?" "Am I taking care of
myself?" "What do I need and what does our relationship need in order to be
happy, healthy, and stable?"
Remember, you may have to wait until he comes to you to have this
conversation. If you decide to have it now, he may not want to listen or talk
about his bipolar disorder. In that case, end the conversation and do not allow
yourself to be the object of an abusive "bipolar conversation". Good luck. You
are not alone.
David Schafer, M.Ed.
Published April, 2006